And if you liked this, check out “June.”
When I was getting ready to graduate from college in 1957, I was fed up and ready to drop from exhaustion, but still my mind kept telling me, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” I felt I had to do something, go on to the next step, whatever it was — career, graduate school, as long as it was important. This is an American disease.
~ Florence King
Photography: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
From Kate Murphy, NY Times, No Time to Think:
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter.
And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device.
Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.
It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.
It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.
Read full article by Kate Murphy in NY Times: No Time To Think
Image Source: Sh*t In My Head
Millions of thoughts slide in and out – – moments of significance, yet these seeds on the blooming dandelion blow away. This ordinary moment hangs on. Why?
She met me in the hallway in front of the elevators. We were both finishing our day. She looked fresher, wearing a blue skirt and jacket, standing with a colleague – offering up a “Hey, Dad.”
It’s early evening in Midtown. The humidity, stifling. Crowds are milling around the theatre ticket booths. Father and Daughter are out of the building looking to catch the 6:49.
We reach a “Don’t Walk” and I point down to 47th. She tugs at my suit jacket.
“Dad, I’ve timed it. It’s not faster to zig-zag. Just wait. Take it straight down. It’s faster.”
She’s timed it. It’s faster. [Read more...]
The endless, useless urge to look on life comprehensively, to take a bird’s-eye view of ourselves and judge the dimensions of what we have or have not done: this is life as a landscape, or life as resume. But life is incremental, and though a worthwhile life is a gathering together of all that one is, good and bad, successful and not, the paradox is that we can never really see this one that all of our increments (and decrements, I suppose) add up to. “Early we receive a call,” writes Czeslaw Milosz, “yet it remains incomprehensible, / and only late do we discover how obedient we were.”
— Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)
I finished this book last night. As Henry David Thoreau said: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
In many ways this blog is me talking to myself. What makes the thing work, if indeed it does, is that there are a lot people like me and they are dealing with the same issues I’m dealing with. So talking to myself in this public forum is, in its way, a meditation for those individuals as well. So I don’t ask myself, “What do I imagine others want to read in this space?” I ask, “What do I want? What issues are bothering me? What questions am I exploring?”
Don’t miss reading about “serving the muse” and “the irresistible gravitational pull of your Pole Star”
Is that an answer to the question, “Why am I writing this blog? Why are you reading it?”
May be. In asking myself these questions and publishing them in this public forum, I’m hoping a) to fortify and enlighten myself in this mysterious journey, and b) to tell you that you’re not alone, that your questions (which I can’t help but believe are just like mine) are not silly or fatuous or unworthy, and that at least one other person on this planet—i.e., me—is just as crazy as you are.
Read more here: Why, #3
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Metamorphosis
‘Always remember, child,’ her first teacher had impressed on her, ‘that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that need disipline –training- is about. So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of the flower arrangement, the tranquillity of dawn. Then, at length, you won’t have to make such a great effort and you will be of value to yourself.’”
- James Clavell, Shōgun
Shooting the void in silence,
like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings
for better speed.
~ Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, From ”Sonnet XXVIII”
- Bio for Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
- Photograph: Crescent Moon via Hungarian Soul.
- Poem: Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.
The sun is perfect and you woke this morning.
You have enough language in your mouth to be understood.
You have a name, and someone wants to call it.
Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it.
If we just start there,
every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible.
If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.
~ Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire, 26, was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She later emigrated to London. Shire thereafter began writing poetry as a way to connect with her Somali heritage and her roots in Somalia.
It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.
I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.
There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.
Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.
SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]
“The temptation is to make an idol of our own experience, to assume our pain is more singular than it is. Even here, in some of the entries above, I see that I have fallen prey to it. In truth, experience means nothing if it does not mean beyond itself: we mean nothing unless and until our hard-won meanings are internalized and catalyzed within the lives of others. There is something I am meant to see, something for which my own situation and suffering are the lens, but the cost of such seeing — I am just beginning to realize — may very well be any final clarity or perspective on my own life, my own faith. That would not be a bad fate, to burn up like the booster engine that falls aways from the throttling rocket, lighting a little dark as I go.”
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
On the afternoon of his 39th birthday, less than a year after his wedding day, poet Christian Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable cancer of the blood. Wiman had long ago drifted away from the Southern Baptist beliefs of his upbringing. But the shock of staring death in the face gradually revived a faith that had gone dormant. Wiman’s book of essays, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer took shape in the wake of his diagnosis, when he believed death could be fast approaching. These writings come from someone who is less a cautious theologian than a pilgrim crying out from the depths. They divulge the God-ward hopes (and doubts) of an artist still piecing together a spiritual puzzle. San Francisco-based lawyer and author Josh Jeter corresponded with Wiman about his new book, his precarious health, and the ongoing challenge of belief in God. (Source: CT)
- Photograph: metamorphically, i dream
- Related Christian Wiman Posts: The most blinding illumination; Screaming into Silence; Bang our very bones to roust our own souls; Something is off; Sunday Sermon
Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.
PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.
I’m out the door. And down the highway.
I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. Warmer. Click. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.
And then, AC-DC.
And THEN, AC-DC.
THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.
Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.
Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.
Catching up on your posts and came across your July 7 Monday Mantra. Thought you might like to see the original video of the reggae-biased Morepork … so named for their call. If you live close to bush in New Zealand, you turn on the porch light and these little guys will come calling to feed on the moths.”
This little Morepork (or Ruru in Maori) arrived at New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust’s Green Bay Hospital in Auckland when it was about a week old. Now it is flying and has lost most of its baby feathers. New Zealand Bird Rescue supports the community by assisting many thousands of sick, orphaned, injured and lost birds every year. Birds that come into care here are rehabilitated until they are ready for release back into the wild. We accept and care for all New Zealand birds; no bird is ever turned away. Many have been victims of cat attacks, road accidents, pollution, fishing line entanglements, and human ignorance or cruelty.
Thank you Stephen.
So, what’s it going to be for breakfast?
Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.
The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.
What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.
- Wendell Berry
- Credits: Poem – ArtPropelled. Photograph: mascarandelegance
- Other Wendell Berry favorites: The circle of no beginning or end. And that is Hell and I believe that whatever we need is at hand…
“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
— Susan Sontag
The Huffington Post: Colbie Caillat Rallies Against Photoshop In ‘Try’ Music Video:
In her music video for “Try,” Colbie Caillat takes a stance against Photoshop. She starts off the video looking like (as MTV put it) “a cartoonized version of Mariah Carey in a Dove ad” and proceeds to un-Photoshop herself, ending the song as her natural, unedited self, alongside a wonderfully diverse set of women, who undergo the same transition.
“When I shot the first scene with no hair and makeup on in front of an HD camera in my face, flashed with bright lights, everyone was watching,” she told Elle. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, I bet they’re all looking at my blemishes, thinking that I should cover them up, or that I should put some volume in my hair.’ But it also felt really cool to be on camera with zero on, like literally nothing on. And then when it got to the full hair and makeup, I actually felt gross. I was just so caked on.”
[...]Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you
Thank you Liz.
I always have this sense that something is going to resolve my spiritual anxieties once and for all, that one day I’ll just relax and be a believer. I read book after book. I seek out intense experiences in art, in nature, or in conversations with people I respect and who seem to rest more securely in their faith than I do. Sometimes it seems that gains are made, for these things can and do provide relief and instruction. But always the anxiety comes back, is the norm from which faith deviates, if faith is even what you would call these intense but somehow vague and fleeting experiences of God. I keep forgetting, or perhaps simply will not let myself see, what true faith is, its active and outward nature. I should never pray to be at peace in my belief. I should pray only that my anxiety be given peaceful outlets, that I might be the means to a peace that I myself do not feel.
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
- Photograph: Robert Farber, Seeing Montana, 1992 via Arsvitaest
- Related Christian Wiman Posts: The most blinding illumination, Screaming into Silence and Bang our very bones to roust our own souls, Something is off
Kenny Braun Photography: Kenny Braun is a Texas photographer that’s equal parts Thoreau and Avedon—an existential outdoorsman and consummate professional who adeptly captures everything from remote places to far away gazes. He brings a consistent visual identity to a wide range of subject matter by focusing on quality of light, color and mood. Music, surfing and photography have been his passions since high-school, each influencing the other. His personal work explores a sense of place and memory by returning to scenes from his childhood. His curiosity about faces and places is evident in his work, which is so vivid you can’t even imagine a photographer being involved.
Joy is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.
~ David Whyte
OK, now this, THIS, is something special. Sandy, a fellow WordPress blogger @ A Mind Divided, shared this vintage photograph and explained:
My mom and dad travelled a lot after they retired from farming. I found this picture of them from 1974 when they were in Morocco and immediately thought of you.
And look at Sandy’s Mom and Dad proudly posing with Caleb, who was just a baby…but had high voltage star power even in the early 70’s. Thank you Sandy!
↓ click for audio (Linda Ronstadt – “Blue Bayou”)
Did you know that the United States has more than 175 days to celebrate the awareness of food or drink? And, per Wiki’s List of Food Days, 14 of them, including today, are dedicated to the awareness of CHOCOLATE? Here’s the line-up for Chocolate Days:
- Jan 03: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
- Jan 27: National Chocolate Cake Day
- Jun 16: National (Chocolate) Fudge Day
- Jun 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
- Jul 03: National Chocolate Wafer Day
- Jul 08: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
- Jul 25: National Hot (Chocolate) Fudge Sundae Day
- Jul 28: National Milk Chocolate Day
- Oct 28: National Chocolate Day
- Nov 07: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
- Nov 29: National Chocolates Day
- Nov 30: National (Chocolate) Mousse Day
- Dec 04: National (Chocolate Chip) Cookie Day
- Dec 08: Naitonal (Chocolate) Brownie Day
So, go ahead and celebrate today. Change it up this morning. Think Chocolate. Instead of your cup-a-joe, grab 1 or 3 or 5 pieces of my favorite chocolate combos: Coffee & Roasted Almonds Chocolate Bark (above) made by Foodhearts.com.
Thank you Lorne
It is a time of quiet joy,
the sunny morning.
When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds,
each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful
if not valuable.
This is no time for hurry or for bustle.
Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.”
~ John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
- Photograph – Carolyn Cochrane Photography.
- Poem: Schonwieder
- Related Steinbeck Posts: A feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air… and We find after years of struggle that we not take a trip; a trip takes us…
6:00 am. 60º F. Light breeze. A Runner’s paradise. I’m out the door.
Mood Check: On a continuum of Bliss on the right and Rage on the left, the needle is twitching left of center.
It is said that, today, we live in a secular society, believing in worldly, non-religious, non-spiritual “things.” Just look at me. Every morning when I step on the scale…no matter what caloric catastrophe I engaged in the day before, I believe our Taylor 7506 Digital Scale is going to deliver. This morning, was just another morning. My cup runneth over. With belief.
A deep breath. A pause. One step up. Then the other. The digital read-out comes to life. Gremlins scurrying around with their algorithms. They’re flicking in a range from 208.5 to 207.8 and back. Why do you think they flick in a range? They didn’t use to flick in a range. Belly jiggling, so they can’t lock on? My eyes get large. They settle on 208.3. DAMN IT.
Ten pounds up in less than 60 days. If God was Good…If God was Great, this wouldn’t be so damn difficult. I’m drowning in temptation. Cereal. Danishes. Fruit and Cheese filled croissants. Ice cream. Pasta. And that was just yesterday. It’s raining on me.
And by now, you know what comes next: PENANCE. [Read more...]
How can this human life
be anything other than astonishing?
The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition
~ Sigman Byrd, “The Beginner”
“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”
~ John Green, Paper Towns
Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version: